Restoring vintage classics

A toiler by nature, retired Pyes Pa car painter Ivan Allen enjoys nothing more than getting his teeth into an automotive restoration project.

“You’ve got to have a project on the go to keep you busy. It is just something I like doing,” says Ivan, who has restored about 15 cars since his passion developed more than 50 years ago.

This Sunday Ivan will display his 1936 Austin 18/6 at the Bay of Plenty Vintage Car Club’s annual swap meet and display alongside about 60 other cars.

He completed the 18/6 four years ago after a “full rebuild”. “It wasn’t a bucket, but almost everything needed replacing.”

Ivan was drawn to the six-cylinder Austin for its luxury fit-out, which includes a solid mahogany trim, a fold-out table, 19-inch wire wheels and window blinds.

“Being 18 horsepower there wasn’t a lot of them here because it was quite expensive,” says Ivan.

He occasionally takes the 18/6 out for a trip – describing it as “driving like a dream” at a consistent 33-34 miles per hour. “It might sound slow, but you’re never very far behind everyone else when you go for a run.”

During the years he’s restored four pre-1915 era Veterans – including an Alldays & Onions vehicle, which he’d hoped to finish for its 100th anniversary last year but has been delayed with carburetor fettling problems.

His mechanical passion was born when he got his first AJS motorbike as a young man.
“You get your first bike and you pull it apart and make some adjustments. You do a few of these and you learn a lot.”

But Ivan’s turned his focus from four wheels to two. His current project is a full rebuild of a 1928 Humber 350cc motorbike. “There are a lot of small parts that have had to be replaced like foot pedals, which have had to be made.”

The bike has been stored in boxes since he got it about 50 years ago. After the Humber he plans to turn his attention to two Austin 16/6’s he has waiting to be restored.

Vintage Car Club show organiser John Payne says this Sunday’s display from 8am-1pm at the Cliff Rd clubrooms will attract a wide range of cars dating back to the Veteran era – and he expects strong interest. Entry is adults $5, under 13s enter for free.


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